Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang isolated, defence collapses vs. Frankfurt
FRANKFURT, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund's lead at the top of the table melts away like a popsicle in the Sahara Desert, as they drew 2-2 away to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday after throwing away a 2-0 lead. Bayern Munich can close the once five-point gap with a win against Hamburg.
The Westphalians had lost their last three matches away to the Eagles, so technically, this was an improvement.
Nobody was quite sure how the guests were 1-0 up at half-time. Similar issues to the loss against Leipzig were on display, as Dortmund's midfield could hardly gain any control with many long balls flying over their heads and right back to Frankfurt's centre-backs. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was too often not even trying to win the ball. The Gabonese striker is not much of a back-to-goal striker who can hold up the ball, but BVB ignored that anyway. As a result, Dortmund's midfielders were still too far away to press high up the field but were open enough for the hosts to funnel the ball in behind Dortmund's backline. Although it took a while, eventually Frankfurt punished the defensive mishaps with a quick double-strike in the 64th and 68th minute to equalize.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- The criticism surrounding Peter Bosz won't abate. With a makeshift backline, it was always going to be hard for his applied tactics to not fall short at the back.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 7 -- Boosted by his contract extension, Burki made some vital saves to deny Frankfurt's onrushing strikers from scoring. In the second half, he conceded a penalty by tumbling over Ante Rebic as his teammates left the Frankfurt striker alone.
DF Marc Bartra, 6 -- Once again fielded as right-back. His shot in the 18th minute turned into an assist. He broke up Frankfurt's lateral switches with a few interceptions. Was lucky that the referee didn't show him red after a brutal foul in stoppage time.
DF Julian Weigl, 5 -- Bosz tried to address his lack of build-up play by putting Weigl in central defence. A barrage of long balls say that it did not work out too well. His lack of pace showed when Frankfurt played long passes into space.
DF Neven Subotic, 6 -- With Sokratis suspended and Toprak ruled out due to a hamstring injury, Subotic made his comeback for Dortmund after one-and-a-half years. He showed that Subotic rhyming with "last ditch" is no coincidence with spectacular sliding tackles -- those, however, were necessary due to his somewhat dubious positioning at times.
DF Jeremy Toljan, 5 -- Switched from right-back against Leipzig back to the left-back position to fill in for the still not fully fit Schmelzer. Switched back to left in the second half.
MF Nuri Sahin, 5 -- It would have been a smash-and-grab win by Dormtund had Nuri Sahin gone for placement instead of power a few yards in front of an empty goal barring Makoto Hasebe.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 4 -- A couple of bad touches and miscommunications with his teammates killed some promising chances for the Black and Yellows in the first.
MF Mario Gotze, 8 -- Once again, Dortmund's best outfield player by a stretch. He was pivotal in his team's final push for a winner but overall did well to keep possession with clever twists and turns.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 6 -- Doubled the temporary lead with a pinpoint finish into the far corner. Had a few well-timed runs behind Frankfurt's backline but couldn't quite find the layoff.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5 -- Can one blame Aubameyang for his team playing a style that is not always suited to him? As always, he did, however, find himself at the end of two scoring opportunities -- one skied, one excellently saved by Lukas Hradecky.
FW Christian Pulisic, 5 -- Had an excellent chance parried by Hradecky just moments after Frankfurt pulled one back. It may have killed off all of the host's momentum.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 6 -- Replaced Castro in the 58th minute and introduced some control in the final stretches off the game with well-timed short passes.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 6 -- Was fielded at left-back in Bosz's double substitution and did reliably well.
FW Jadon Sancho, NR -- The young Englishman made his debut in the 84th minute and nearly scored the winning goal at the end of regular time. His effort was saved, but Sahin should have scored the rebound.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.